Creating a Bespoke Piece | Behind the Scenes

I get a lot of questions about my bespoke process so I thought it was time to give those of you who are interested an in-depth look.

I LOVE designing. I’m still as passionate about it now as I was in those early days when I started Tilly Thomas Lux and working with brides to create the piece of their dreams is so rewarding. I like to think I have something for everyone in my collections but if a bride wants something unique I’m totally happy to oblige… ;)

Every single piece I make, bespoke or otherwise, is handmade in the UK and sometimes a design can contain as much as eighty individual components. It’s a long process and a huge amount of work but the finished pieces are totally worth it!

The first step in the process is getting to know the bride and finding out more about what she’s looking for. We do this in person or over the phone and I spend time understanding exactly what she’s looking for when it comes to her sparkles. I then go away and try to bring her perfect piece to life!

The first flat lay design

The first flat lay design

This is the most fun part for me… Whether a bride is looking for an elegant leafy creation like Millie Mackintosh or an epic, dazzling crown I gather all of the individual components together and lay the design out flat first. This allows me to experiment with layout, shapes and different stones before settling on the perfect combination.

At this point, nothing is permanently attached as I need the freedom to be able to change it around. It’s not very glamorous but my secret weapon at this stage is Blutack! It keeps everything secure enough in case my desk gets nudged or a certain sausage dog who shall remain nameless decides to jump up and knock it over. (Yes, I learned that lesson the hard way!)

I send pictures of this to the bride, then I package up all the tiny pieces (minus the stones at this stage) and send it to my model maker who solders each piece together. This can take a lot of time, depending on the piece. For example, some of the more complicated pieces can take a full day or even longer to put together and it’s a highly specialised job. I’m lucky enough to work with incredible people who’ve been doing it forever so I know my pieces are in safe hands. Once it’s been soldered, it has to be meticulously cleaned as any tiny speck of dust will show up when it’s plated.

The complete piece then comes back to my studio. This is an exiting moment for me and the bride as it’s starting to look like the finished piece. I keep the bride in the loop by sending her pictures. I tend to model it on my own head as it’s the best way to show it off.

The example above shows all the separate components soldered together but not yet plated. I Blutacked a few stones around the edge (seriously! It’s a life saver!) but it’s only for show at the moment.

I then send this (minus the stones) to be plated and it comes back looking shiny and gorgeous and ready for all the sparkle! We plate in the most beautiful pale 18 carat gold and silver and, again, I work with wonderful experts who take the utmost care during this process, making sure every single piece is perfect!

After the piece is plated I then add the stones…. It’s the most amazing feeling at this stage seeing it all come together. I use Swarovski crystals and, honestly, they are so sparkly! I’m obsessed!! I wouldn’t use anything else as they are by far the most dazzling in my opinion.

The finished piece then gets sent to the bride ready to be worn on her big day.

A finished Tilly Thomas Lux bespoke crown with Swarovski crystals

A finished Tilly Thomas Lux bespoke crown with Swarovski crystals

The entire process from consultation to me sending the final piece normally takes around 6-7 weeks.

So there you go! Hopefully that’s given you an insight into what we do and the passion and craftsmanship that goes into these beautiful pieces. Each one holds a special place in my heart and there’s nothing better than the wedding pictures hitting my inbox from one of my lovely brides. It’s the best!

Love & sparkle,

Sally xxx

p.s. If you’re interested in working with me to create a bespoke piece, click here. If bespoke isn't for you, I have loads of gorgeous pieces in my existing collections so check them out using the menu above. xx

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